Saudis, PLO Deny Reports Of Fahd Letter to Arafat

SAUDI Arabia and the Palestine Liberation Organization have denied that King Fahd sent a letter to PLO chief Yasser Arafat urging a compromise on Palestinian representation at a proposed Middle East peace conference.The report carried by Reuters was based on accounts from unnamed officials of two radical PLO factions based in Damascus who said Mr. Arafat apparently rejected the appeal. (This Reuters report appeared in the Monitor yesterday.) The official Saudi Press Agency said Tuesday: "The alleged Reuters report is fabricated ... and is totally untrue. "Saudi Arabia strongly regrets the publication of such an offensive report," the agency reported. PLO executive committee member Abu Ali Mustafa told the group's news agency, WAFA, that the Reuters report was baseless and designed to damage PLO credibility. An official of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) had told Reuters that Arafat revealed details of a message from King Fahd to a PLO executive committee meeting in Tunis July 15. "King Fahd told Abu Ammar [Arafat] that you have to accept that Palestinians be included in a sub-listed delegation [with Jordan] as the only way to get the peace process going," the PFLP official said.

Kuwait human rights Kuwaiti Justice Minister Ghazi al-Sammar said his ministry was amending state security laws to give defendants in collaboration trials the right of appeal. He told al-Watan newspaper that defendants would have better access to legal safeguards and the right of appeal in the State Security Court. Kuwaiti officials have been stung by international criticism over human-rights violations after the desert emirate was returned to Kuwaiti control. The security court inherited 400 collaboration cases when martial law was lifted in June, four months after the end of the Iraqi occupation. It has not yet started hearings. Martial law courts had sentenced 29 people to hang for assisting Iraq, attracting criticism from human rights groups abroad, but the sentences were commuted to life imprisonment.

Syria calls on Bush, Gorbachev Syria said Wednesday that Israel seemed deaf to superpower hints that it should withdraw from Arab land and presidents George Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev should take practical steps to get it to do so. "The summit in Moscow should have a clear, frank and firm position on peace efforts as the policy of hinting [to Israel] is apparently not enough and will not bring results," said al-Baath, newspaper of the ruling party. "We urge presidents Bush and Gorbachev to take a practical position to force Israel to bow to international legitimacy." The newspaper said that Mr. Bush and Mr. Gorbachev, wrapping up a superpower summit in Moscow on Wednesday, had big responsibilities for peace in the Middle East. It said Israel continued "to drag its feet and maneouver ... in an obvious attempt to waste time."

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